People First logoAre you a chef looking for a job? There’s an opening at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee. The opening has been posted People First, the State of Florida’s human resources website. Listed as “Duties and Responsibilities”:

"The incumbent in this position works independently in the kitchen of the Florida Governor’s Mansion. Due to the high profile, public nature of the position, the incumbent must be well-organized and possess positive interpersonal skills (creativity, flexibility, and versatility) necessary to work collectively with a variety of staff members, temporary wait staff, visitors to the mansion, and the First Family."

In other words, the incumbent will cook for the incumbent.

The site lists the salary range as $28,093 - $77,387.65 but elsewhere in the listing it states “Salary will not exceed $54,000 annually,” so I don’t know what you’re to make of that.

Any takers?

And by the way, if you are a chef looking for a job, click on the link at the top that says “Contact Scott” and send me a note. I just might know of something that pays better and that won’t require you to move to Tally.


Southern Smoke plate

A little place called Southern Smoke Fish & Ribs quietly opened on West Colonial Drive about four months ago. It’s in the same spot that held Italian Beefstro, which quietly closed some time before that.

SSF&R is a neat and tidy place. Guests order their food at the counter and then have a seat at one of the (not very comfy) booths in the compact dining area or at a picnic table outside.

Because of the restaurant’s name, I chose the combo platter that would get me both ribs and fish. For the fish, I had my choice of catfish, tilapia or smelt, and because you don’t often see smelt on a menu, I went with that.


Raglan DundonThe group will spend the first evening in Dublin, touring the Guinness Storehouse and sampling the Black Stuff, then have dinner at L’Ecrivain, a Michelin-starred restaurant owned by award-winning chef Derry Clarke.

On Saturday they’ll head to Dundon’s Dunbrody Country House then tour a water-powered grain mill, a fruit farm and an Irish beef processor.

The next day will begin in Dundon’s cooking school where he’ll show the American students how things are done the Irish way. In the afternoon, they’ll tour Hook Head Lighthouse, which is the source of a phrase you probably use quite often (I’ll tell you later), Loftus Hall, known as the most haunted house on the peninsula (the others are just sort of haunted), then dinner at a local pub.

On Monday morning — Memorial Day in the States — the group will go out on a commercial fishing boat to learn about local seafood, and then they’ll cook some of the fish they catch for lunch. Following a traditional Irish afternoon tea, everyone will gather in the kitchen to make a family style supper.

Then Tuesday it’s back to Orlando International Airport.

Doesn’t that sound like fun? I think it does. In fact, I like the itinerary so much that I’ve decided to go along. Beginning Thursday evening I’ll be chronicling the events as they unfold, so be sure to check here and at the Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide Facebook page throughout the weekend.

And that’s when I’ll tell you the phrase we get from Hook Head Lighthouse.


Divas Hummus

Forget about it, folks. When you're asked to bring an appetizer, the plastic container of hummus and predictable bag of pita chips is no longer an option. It's time to raise the bar.

Start by losing the plastic tub. Spread the hummus evenly over the platter, then go all out with sautéed ground lamb, pushing this delicious hummus starter into main-course territory. Part dip, part stew, part salad, it's the perfect casual meal to enjoy outside with friends, perfectly chilled wine--and plenty of oohs and ahhs.



Hyatt Hodges

If you’re spending Memorial Day weekend in town this year, you have some a fun food, drink and entertainment option available to you, and I don’t mean the usual boring backyard barbecue.

Hyatt Regency Orlando is kicking off its Summer Sensation celebration next weekend with a special Chef’s Table dinner and entertainment by country music stars Josh Thompson, JT Hodges and Nikki Lane.

The Chef’s Table, which is Saturday, May 23, at 7 p.m., sounds extra intriguing because Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse's chef de cuisine, Will Walters, is curating his menu to be paired with beers from New Belgium Brewing. NBB, of course, is the Colorado and North Carolina based craft brewery best known for its Fat Tire amber ale. The dinner will feature New Belgium’s Snapshot Wheat, Ranger IPA, Trippel Ale, 1554 Black Lager, and for the dessert course, Not Your Father’s Root Beer. (That’s the name of the brew from Small Town Brewery of Wauconda, a small town in Illinois; it’s not meant to say that your father’s root beer isn’t welcome. Actually, it is meant to say that, but never mind.)

Walters will be pairing the beers with lump crab salad, espresso rubbed tenderloin, mustard glazed pork belly and other delicacies. Here's the full menu:

Fiorenzo Beer Dinner

The multi-course meal is only $75 per person plus tax and service. To reserve your place — seating is limited — call 407-345-4570.

The country music concert is on Sunday, May 24, from 2 to 9 p.m., and will be on the Garden Terrace next to the Terrace pool. Tickets are only $25 for general admission ($75 VIP; reserved seats, meet and greets, snacks) and can be obtained at the Hyatt Summer Sensation website. Your ticket also gets you free self parking and 20 percent off of your food purchase at Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse, Urban Tide and B-Line Diner.

And if you want to make it a weekend staycation, the hotel is offering special pricing, including overnight accommodations and two general admission tickets for $199. Plus, guests can spend the whole weekend at the hotel with rates from $99 for additional nights. Click this link to get more details and to book a room. For those of you who still haven’t recognized the name change, the Hyatt Regency Orlando is the former Peabody Orlando, so we’re talking pretty posh accommodations here.

I think this sounds like a dandy way to spend the weekend.

Hyatt Regency Orlando is at 9801 International Drive, Orlando.